Full of Sin Karl Vadaszffy
A Wild Wolf Publication
Published by Wild Wolf Publishing in 2009 Copyright ÂŠ 2009 Karl Vadaszffy All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publishers, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed by a newspaper, magazine or journal. First print All Characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Acknowledgement With heartfelt thanks to Wiola, for encouraging me to stay positive; to my entire family; to Peter, for the fantastic cover design; to Sophie Hannah, for your guidance; to Wild Wolf, for embracing the dark side of fiction; and Dad â€“ I hope you can see this.
‘The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there – there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were – No, they were not inhuman.’ ~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Today If to sin means to do the unspeakable, the unthinkable, and to be willing to hurt, to want and therefore to take, to damn the consequences and seek personal gratification, gratification of all the senses, regardless of who you take down on the way, regardless of the pain you inflict, the destruction you cause, then I was a champion sinner because for me sinning was as normal as the sun rising and setting and while some of you may say it was sick I can’t possibly comment; I’m not to judge; I can only say that I was so much a part of it – the actor in the central role, the one on whom everyone has an eye, the one in the spotlight; a spotlight that many crave, that few achieve, but that I grabbed, took and thrived in, until the day it all became too much, the day that my immoral soul took a step too far, had been consumed by all things sin for too long, began to choke, was desperate to surface for breath and couldn’t live on in any other way than a way that was different, better, even purer. In only twenty-two years I’ve seen so much and done too much; sights that give people nightmares and acts that sicken the strongest of stomachs. The average person couldn’t understand what I was because we couldn’t be more different, for there came days when I knew nothing else – just sick old sin – and I loved every minute of it. I can’t escape the memory of the evening when I watched her tumble down the stairs. It’s a vision that will never leave me. How her body flopped as it rolled towards the ground then stiffened up the moment before impact, as if she knew what was coming but could only brace for the collision. All this time later I can hear her mass as it bounced off the steps; I can hear her cries as she was carried through the air; and I can hear the crash as she landed at the bottom. At that moment I didn’t know what to do, for acting violently had become alien, something to which I 5
hadn’t succumbed for almost three years – but I’d thrown her down the stairs and was smiling. The thing is, when I was violent I thrived on the power I felt; I loved being in control of another person; to know they were merely weak. And here I immediately felt it rearing its ugly head again. Again. I tower fifteen feet above my victim. Another to add to the long line that lies before it. It takes me a moment to process what I’ve done: Jodie is my victim. She’s stretched out on her back, her hips are turned to the left and her legs are pressed against the wall. She mouths several groaning noises – not of pleasure, but of pain and suffering. I know I’ve caused the pain but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t care for Jodie and the hurt she must be experiencing; I only like what she gives me, and now my one regret is that I’ll never get it from her again. She gives it so good that it’s the only thing on my mind. For one week we’ve repeated the first night. Alone in the house, I was reading. My makeshift parents were at dinner with friends. Jodie was out doing what she did best, apart from blowing: partying. The Comfort of Strangers was in my hands. Ian McEwan. Strange, indeed, how those you think you know can surprise you; how people with whom you are comfortable are actually sometimes the people you should fear the most. Sexy too. As I turned a page, the front door banged shut and I heard feet shuffling downstairs. I pictured Jodie trying to remove her lace-up boots, the black leather tight on her skin, as she stumbled against the wall. I’d seen it happen many times before. Watched her, in fact. Footsteps hit the stairs and made their way in my direction. She was moving slowly. I listened, the book no longer of interest. A dull thud. Some giggling. A cough. My name. “Oh Sean,” sing-songy. More laughter and I got up to see what was going on. She was a state, just like the previous time when she stumbled in from a night on the piss. The same as always. Pathetic but I liked it. With her right leg two steps higher, 6
revealing her toned upper thigh, Jodie was leaning against the wall and staring up at me. “Hey, lover boy,” she said, still laughing. “Are you okay?” No matter how she felt, she looked more than okay. She wore a low-cut black top, which showed the shape of her breasts and came to an end an inch above a pierced navel. I couldn’t look at it but could look at her all day. A black skirt that rode high and black stockings covered the lower half of her body invitingly. Her legs looked incredible and my breathing instantly sped up and deepened. A few holes had amassed in her stockings. She spread her arms back behind her and licked her lips, her breasts pushing out. My desire grew and I wasn’t going to hide it anymore. “Help me up,” she said. I wanted her. I went down a few steps towards her. The navel ring shone in the light of the lamp above our heads. I lifted my eyes and focused on her breasts. She saw where my gaze was fixed and she knew. Her long brown hair, which she’d curled today, stuck to her forehead and cheeks. I wanted to pull at it with my mouth. “Put your arms around me,” she said. I obeyed. With my arm around her waist I helped her on and up. I thought she was letting me in. One step up, she stumbled forwards and put her hand onto my leg for balance. Right then she saw it clear as could be. “And what’s this?” she said, running her fingers across my groin, feeling my stiffness. The ecstasy that tunnelled through my body made me quiver and I leaned back against the banister. “Oops,” she giggled, and I closed my eyes. That was when I heard and felt my zipper being undone. Her fingers crept their way inside my boxer shorts, the two buttons opening with ease. All the while, she sniggered. I came out in her hand like a jack-in-the-box and felt her finger nails gently moving over my length. 7
I leaned forwards and ran my hand down the small of her back, found a way underneath her skirt and onto her backside. “Grab it,” she said, releasing me. She rose to her feet and kissed me hard on the mouth as I squeezed. She led me onto the landing. I fell into my bedroom door with her clinging to my lips. Kicking through the bedroom door and closing it behind her, she pushed me onto the bed and leapt on top as I fell. We rocked up and down on the springs. Her body rubbed against mine. She lifted my t-shirt off. Her tongue slid around my chest, searching for something. She found my belly button and spat in it. I sat up, lifting her. My hand slid under her skirt and I pushed hard. In response her nails scratched down my chest. I bellowed and came alive. She was totally up for it and took me on a ride I never thought I’d get on. Yes, I’d thought about her hot body on many a lonely night. Many times I’d thought about what I’d do to her if I ever got the chance. And within fifteen minutes I was completing the fantasy, kneeling above Jodie as she lay before me, her hands pressing her tits together, then spewing all over the place. It was the kind of pleasure you can’t imagine, no matter how much you fantasise. And the beauty of it – it would happen again. Indeed it has for the past week. I’m in my room and there’s a quiet knock on the door. No one enters but I know what to do. I open up and peer down the landing. And each time the same sight lies in wait. There she is, standing in her bedroom doorway, wearing nothing but a bra and thong. Always black or red. One time with suspenders. And like a dog on heat I make my way to her, following her scent and that alluring come to me. It’s been a week of perfect fucking. But today, the seventh day, the knock hasn’t come. I wait and wait, willing it, but nothing. We’re alone in the house, so I can’t see what’s holding her up. I’m thinking about it so much I’m hard, so I decide to take the lead. I approach her bedroom, anticipating and fantasising about what I believe will happen, but I’m forced to pause outside the door when I hear what sounds like sobbing 8
coming from within. For a moment I rest my ear against the rap star poster that has replaced the door. Yes, it’s sobbing. But this is me and I’m not looking for tears. I’m looking for a fuck – nothing more, nothing less – and I’ve got that for the past six days. And she has too. So what the fuck is her problem? I knock and enter when I hear a stifled “Come in.” I close the door behind me. Whenever I stand in this room, my eyes have to adjust to the interior. Variations of pink dominate: pink wallpaper; pink fluffy carpet; a pink bed cover; pink bears propped on top of it. But Jodie’s as opposite to pink as any girl can be. She’s trouble; that’s part of the attraction. She’s involved with the wrong people, she does wild things, but she keeps the truth well hidden from her parents. There are times when she even seems as sneaky as me. I stand there trying to work out the best way to ensure I get what I want. Jodie asks me to sit. I do as she requests, still expecting to get it. She talks at me for a time, fighting back tears, I can see. What we’ve done, she says, is nothing special and a mistake. Silently, I shake my head. It’s my pleasure and she’s demeaning it in this way. She doesn’t regret it, she says – it was fun, but that’s all. Fun we need to continue right now. She couldn’t bear it if her parents found out. Fuck them; what about what I want? “We’re supposed to be a family,” she keeps repeating, shaking her head. A family? “But you want it,” I tell her. She wants to get fucked. “No,” she answers. “I don’t. I told you, not anymore.” I can’t hear this – I’ll hit her if she carries on much longer – and I know for sure I have to change her mind. I’m positive I can convince her that we both want the same thing. It’s what I want. Nobody ever says no to me. But she won’t listen, so stubborn, frankly shy and subdued for the first time in her fucking life. I’m not a talker – I don’t have the patience – so I try to change her mind the only way I know how: I reach my hand under her skirt and push. Her reply – she slaps me; so hard I fall back. Deep inside, I feel something return. 9
I smile at her, lean forwards and return my hand to her leg, further up this time, harder. She squeals, lifting her left knee high in the air. It breaks the grip I have on her, knocks my arm out of the way and hits me on the chin. I writhe momentarily in pain, my mouth suddenly bloody, and that’s all it takes. Bitch! I’m ready to kill her. I’m enraged and an old friend is re-awoken. I lunge forwards, grab her by the shoulders and shake her around. She manages to knee me in the groin; I guess I’m out of practice. I fall to my knees and she runs from the room, but the smile hasn’t vanished from my face. Just like old times. I scramble to my feet, with blood dripping from my mouth onto the cream carpet, and go after her. I catch hold of her just as she begins to descend the staircase, pull her up so that she’s standing level with me and press her up against the wall. She pushes, screams and throws her arms around, unable to connect another blow. Holding her to the wall with my left forearm against her throat, I plant my lips on hers, push with such force that I almost go through her face, and lift her top up with my other hand. In one very slow movement I get hold of her grotesque navel ring. The feel of it angers me further. I pull at it, savouring each moment. As the skin stretches, she bellows a guffaw of pain. I remember the sound well; remember how much I liked it before, when these things were commonplace. She knows what’s coming. I place my tongue on hers as she cries. She begins to swing relentlessly, so I toy with her no more. I come away from the parting kiss and ensure that our eyes are locked. Then I wrench at her hideous ring until it tears off. As metal and flesh part, she explodes with the most desperate cry I’ve ever heard. Blood rains from her midriff onto the carpet and wall. It covers my hands, warming me. Noticing the blood all over my fingers, I lick my lips and grin. She tries to shake free but still to no avail. I won’t back off. Not until it’s done. She’s sobbing and all I want to do is look at her. The sight of the whites of my eyes makes her cower further into the wall. I almost laugh at the sight of her, so pathetic she appears to be. This is Jodie. 10
With my right hand I grab hold of her skirt. My fingers enter and rub against her pubic hairs. They’re short and sharp, and memories of the past week of touching, pressing and licking her come back to me. I can feel myself getting hard again. Then I press my fingers deeper into her skin, consumed by the sensation that the touch arouses in me. My eyes close and I sigh. As quickly as it came, the sensation evaporates, and in one swift motion, holding tightly onto her skirt and allowing our skin to disconnect, I spin myself around, forcing her whole body to follow. In a second I’m watching her tumble down the staircase. She flops, stiffens, collides. The thud, as her body connects with the carpet, echoes in my head. Way above her I place my finger and the blood that covers it into my mouth, fall to my knees and hold my head in my other arm. Her sobbing tries to pierce through my consciousness but garners no response. Releasing my head, I look up to the Gods and breathe deeply through my nose. Then I stand up, the results of my attempted evening of pleasure before me, and feel satisfied in an altogether different way – one I’d not expected. It’s five or so minutes before I realise I’ve put myself back where it all began. That I’ve fallen again. I have to decide what to do – staying here isn’t an option. I grab my wallet from my bedroom and pick up the pace as I go down the stairs, spitting the final remnants of blood onto the floor as I pass Jodie and her pain-ridden pleadings. In the kitchen I withdraw a series of bank notes from the drawer beneath the glasses’ cabinet; spare money I know is hidden in the house in case of emergencies. With the money in my pocket, my coat on my shoulders and a long stretch of my arms, I leave the kitchen, step over Jodie as she remains lodged on the floor and leave what has become my family for ever. * I’ve got nowhere to go, but right now I don’t care. I’ve been alone before, dropped by everyone I’ve ever known, and I perfected how to wander the streets years ago. 11
It’s been about an hour and I’ve come to an area of woodland not far from the place I recently called home. As I circle its grounds, images of what happened in the house tonight and over the past week flash in and around my consciousness. I see Jodie standing seductively in that doorway. I see my hand between her legs. I see her tongue draw over her lips. I see her hand taking me firmly. Then I see her body tumbling through the air. All of it – sexual or violent – in slow motion, my own film, one I direct and star in. Oakley Park stands before me, metres away from the woods. It’s empty. I approach the metal gate. It was painted black once, but the paint has peeled away and a dull grey dominates. Graffiti covers the gate posts, the perimeter fence and the solitary slide. Three years ago, when I arrived at the Andersons’ home, Oakley Park was newly built and fresh. Now that freshness has dissipated and evolved into an eyesore. I go in and sit astride a swing, rocking myself backwards and forwards. I lean my face against the metal chain that holds the seat in mid-air. Time to think about what to do and where to go. But I can’t focus. My mind is fixed on the events of tonight and the evenings before. It makes the longing return, stronger than ever before. I begin to pace, so much is the tension circulating around my groin. After ten minutes of not being able to get her body and what she’s done to me out of my head, I creep underneath the slide, balance on my knees, careful not to cut myself further on any of the shards of glass that lie scattered all around me, and unzip my jeans. It’s already hard as lead. My hand runs right up and down. Long, slow movements, my eyes shut the whole time. My cheeks and forehead tighten as the movements get sharper. So fast now I can feel it coming. Rising up as it does. And with Jodie and her body pounding away on top of me in my mind, it happens. I say her name aloud, almost a scream through gritted teeth, and feel released. But despite the release and feeling the sensitivity of a burn victim, I still want more. She’s all I can see. Her – that bitch. That bitch with the body I want to fuck. 12
Shaking my head to free it up and putting myself away, I decide that here is as good a place as any to spend the night. If the rains come I can stay right where I am, shelter beneath the slide. And I’ve got to think carefully. Fuck the thoughts of her and think. About what’s next. About what’s happened. It doesn’t take long before my thinking clears up. I ask myself, Should I have done that? And there’s only one answer in my head: Of course – you had to level the bitch. At that moment, I was alone again. I didn’t feel worried yet, but I didn’t know what to do. Somehow I’d have to rekindle the part of myself that knew how to survive – part of me that had lain dormant for so long. What had just happened wouldn’t simply disappear and forget about me, so I knew I’d have to fight and fight hard.
Fifteen Years Ago Blessings. Life in its purest form, long before corruption sets in. Entities to cherish, one could say. What else but children of course. As the years begin and gradually pass by, some of these beings are accepted and some are rejected as outcasts. A deck of cards collapses with more order. A child cannot determine which route – acceptance or rejection – judgmental society will choose for it. Problems arise for all kinds of reasons: it has the wrong social background; dislikeable parents; the wrong religion; the wrong skin colour; its nose is too big; it’s too fat; it’s shorter than it should be; it only has two arms – we’ve heard them all before. Then the child suffers. And the child becomes an adult who has suffered for too long. Certainly a young child has no say in the matter of acceptance – a little boy or girl cannot comprehend the complexities between like and dislike, love and hate, right and wrong – so it falls upon the parent to fill the child with knowledge and guide it. But what if the parent fails the child? What if the parent is unable to distinguish between these himself? The child is left alone and helpless, that’s what. It’s here that rejection is at its fullest. And it was at its fullest for Sean from the beginning. Rejection played a concrete part in his life from the outset. He was born a mistake, the result of one of many drugfilled, alcohol-fuelled, paid-for romps. Mary Monroe, known as Melinda by trade, was a hardworking, hard-pounding whore. She was also Sean’s mother. From the age of fourteen, she was living on the streets. By the age of fifteen, a mere two months later, she was working on them.
She left home the subject of her father’s nasty sexual appetite for too long. His wife wasn’t enough for him; he’d pound on her and pound away at her, yet he still craved more. Like the loneliest moon, Mary staggered through her time, alone, in fear, waiting for the next onslaught to begin. It happened at its worst near the end on a daily basis. Each time her mother just stood by watching, nursing her own wounds and never those of her daughter. Inadequate as a mother and as a human being. The time that it had been going on felt endless. Mary frequently imagined ways out of this eternal hell. She had no friends to whom she could turn, but even if they were there she knew she wouldn’t be able to tell. She vowed to remain silent about her torment forevermore. If she could ever become genuinely intimate with another human being – and she doubted she ever could – she’d never empower them by revealing her dirty, little secret. She’d keep it buried, for there would never be another day when she’d be the weaker sex. Her determination stood fast until the day she discovered she was carrying Sean inside her. That day somehow man had beaten her again. It was two months shy of her fifteenth birthday when Mary vowed that the secret of her trespassed innocence would die the day she died herself. One final time had Mary come home from school and allowed him to touch her there. And one final time had she watched her mother stand by as it happened. She’d stopped crying about it some time ago; she’d been turned into an empty vessel. She’d learned to simply stand there and take it. On the night that her life started its nosedive into a deeper hell when instead it was supposed to take off to new, brighter horizons, Mary walked out of her bedroom, a tiny, ramshackle alcove, for the last time. She entered the lounge and looked at the television that was playing a late-night episode of Jerry Springer. Before the television set, she saw the drunken, sleeping forms of her parents’ bodies, his head carelessly strewn across her lap, much like one road intersects with another. With two empty glasses by its side the gin bottle on the table had been polished 15
off. Looking down at them, she didn’t feel anything for her parents, not even hate which, too, had been sucked from her body screaming. But she wished that neither of them would wake up. Then she’d be rid of them for ever. If that would happen they’d only be lurking in the depths of her mind, they wouldn’t be able to find her, and she’d learned about ways to numb painful memories. She’d learned from the best. As she reached for the door handle which she hoped would be the key to her freedom, she kept her eyes on her parents, even though she knew they wouldn’t wake up, and she shuddered – at the scene that lay before her eyes and at the prospect of what lay in her future. She walked out of the door and left for ever. * Sorrow and uncertainty were what Mary encountered. She’d thought about leaving her parents many times in the past, but she’d not once thought about where she’d go, what she’d do and how she’d manage when the moment came. With only a small amount of money in her jeans pocket, the streets were an unwelcoming place for Mary. She was in no way streetwise. She walked as fatigue set in, wondering whether she’d made the right choice, comparing the pain and discomfort she now felt with the turmoil she’d left behind. Young, innocent and hungry, she simply didn’t know which way to turn. She kept moving – had to keep warm – but without a destination in mind. She passed so many buildings that made her feel so small – lots of signs of life and all unaware of where she’d come from – but she no longer knew where she was, so far had she ventured. A wave of fear engulfed her whole body. She was consumed by the same kind of shake that used to overtake her when he approached with that look in his eyes. By the side of the busy road on which she’d found herself she began to panic. Her lips trembled as the rain, snot-like, dripped from her chin, and her knees buckled. She fell hard, grazing both knees and drawing blood. Her eyes welled up and 16
she looked to the heavens. She let out her first scream in many years, one of absolute terror. The high-pitched scream elevated then tailed off into a series of sobs that subsided only for the occasional gasp for air. Mary didn’t notice the car as it pulled over at the side of the road. She wasn’t aware of the sound of approaching footsteps; she was only aware of a strange presence when someone crouched beside her and placed a hand upon her shoulder. A voice asked, “Are you all right?” For a moment, Mary felt soothed by the question and the tone of the voice, until she realised the voice belonged to a man. “Honey, are you all right?” it repeated. “Is everything okay?” Without raising her eyes Mary inched backwards. All she could think was, My God, it’s him. How did he find me so quickly? She didn’t want to see into his eyes. With him she feared life itself, yet she knew she’d have to look up and meet his glare somehow. How could she bring herself to once again look into the eyes of the monster? The growl demanded confirmation. “Listen, I asked you if you’re all right.” She knew she was in danger. “You look dreadful.” Despairing, she lashed her arms out towards him, connected with his arm – the stranger, the monster, her father – leapt to her feet and ran, ignoring the pain that soared from her knees. “Hey!” She ran along the path, small stones spraying into the air as she dragged her feet – her mother had always told her to stop dragging her feet. Walk properly, she’d say, the smell of liquor pouring from her breath. Lift your feet up properly. Still in view of the man she believed to be her father, Mary spotted an opening in the hedge next to which she was running. She lunged through it, leaving him behind as he followed her only with his gaze, and she let out a scream of release and pain and fear from her lips as she disappeared from view. 17
Dumbfounded, the stranger – the one good-willed passerby who was willing to offer help – returned to his car. As he opened the driver’s side door, he exhaled deeply and thought, What the hell was that all about? He wondered why. The answer was simple: he was a man. * Six hours later the tears had subsided, the blood had dried and night had begun to fall. The first night away from home had been easier to handle than Mary had expected. She’d walked away from her parents at almost three o’clock in the morning and had got only a little way when daylight started to creep through. But now Mary was cold and unsure, and the prospect of being alone and vulnerable for ten hours of darkness frightened her. She wanted to find a busy area, an all-night café, a night club; anywhere so that she wouldn’t be completely alone. Finding life came eventually. By now she was almost penniless, having spent much of the new day warming her heart and mind with sweets, coffee and fast food. So now she’d suffer even more. Nonetheless, when the crowds dispersed, she yearned for other places full of people, not for food and drink, but for what they sucked in, held and then spat outside: life. Crowds meant Mary Monroe had to keep moving, for crowds didn’t remain static for long. In the depths of the second night, despite her best efforts, she couldn’t find any more crowds. The darkness started to creep her out. As she walked along yet another dimly lit street, every out-of-place noise and each howl of the wind took her closer to the edge. Despair. She started to walk faster, but her mind raced with memories, unspeakable terrors; images of her father approaching and the chilling touch of his hand. Before she knew it her pace had slacked. Her body shivered, yet she was sweating. As she felt ready to return to her 18
knees, through her tears she noticed a solitary figure in the distance, the first she’d seen in almost an hour, dressed sleekly in black and lit only by a streetlamp. Insecurely, Mary made her way to the lonely figure, only to see when she’d neared her target that the lonely figure was not so lonely. Buried in the shadows behind the woman, two others stood similarly dressed. Mary stopped and stood at a cautious distance from them. She whispered hoarsely, “Excuse me.” None of them heard her or maybe they pretended not to. She braced herself and tried again, this time a little louder. “Excuse me, can you help me?” With a cursory turn of the head, the overdone yet attractive redhead looked in Mary’s direction. Her eyebrows raised in a way that might have indicated surprise, annoyance or both. “Don’t think about using my patch, honey,” she warned. Mary looked confused. “I need your help,” she said. “I don’t know what to do.” “Uh-ha, and how do you expect to attract anyone looking like that?” she asked, disapprovingly nodding her head towards Mary’s clothes. “Please help me,” Mary continued as more tears began to break through. “I need your help. I’m lost.” “Aren’t we all, honey?” Cue in the other two women showing sympathy and playing the Samaritans, and that was how it all began – when the nightmare life was born and started to spiral out of control. It evolved as a miracle in disguise. Absolute disguise. * Long considered to be the oldest profession in history, prostitution was truly alive and Mary stumbled upon it and its alluring ways unexpectedly. Desperately needed easy money. Their names – presumably their street names – were Denise (the redhead), Janet and Rita. Mary told them about herself, not everything of course, but they liked her. She, on the 19
other hand, hated herself. They befriended her, showed her a new kind of life and introduced her to some possibilities. For two evenings Mary stayed with them and felt safe, for one of them was always free. They looked after her, nurturing and treasuring the new blood, even though Mary had no idea about their plans for her. For now she saw them as friends and that meant the world to her. On the second night, Mary was at her usual place, seated leaning against the wall, her eyes to the ground, her hands clasped around her tucked-in knees. A car pulled up, a cloud of smoke behind it – the fourth of the evening, of which only one had borne any fruit – and a sneering face popped out of the lowered window. Janet approached the driver first but swiftly returned to her starting position. Rita was next but she too had no luck, so it was left to Denise to work her magic. Mary had noticed how it was normally down to Denise to convince the punters to part with their hard-earned cash and she was usually successful. Surprised, Mary realised that Denise had failed when she heard the voice from within the car say, “I want the one over there, the young one.” Mary raised her head shyly. Lowered it then raised it again, desperately. As the three women turned towards their new competition, Mary fought to prevent herself from bursting into tears. Noticing the fear spread across Mary’s face Denise said seductively, brushing against the car, “She’s not for sale, honey, but me, I’ll do anything you want.” To Mary’s relief the man in the car changed his mind. Denise hopped in and the car sped off, leaving the other two women to nurse Mary from the shock of what had just happened. Denise had said to the others from the beginning that Mary wouldn’t just jump at the opportunity; she’d take some time to come around – like they all do. To a young girl like Mary all their discussions made the business sound glamorous, although she knew deep at heart that it wasn’t. A few alluring words couldn’t convince her that this place wasn’t one step closer to hell. But it was also far away 20
from the other hell she’d left behind and for that she was thankful. As their time together featured more pep talks and attractive financial offers, Mary was drawn ever closer to the kind of life she’d never thought possible. Denise had taken Mary in and cared for her. Mary could talk to Denise and rely on her, but she knew even at this early stage that it couldn’t last indefinitely. She’d have to look after herself one day, and how to do that was limited. The greatest, most unexpected feat was that Mary thought very little of her parents. She felt more secure – an inkling of happiness because of her new life. At times she felt like she belonged with Denise, the kind of thought that had previously evaded her. Then, finally, she was drawn in. She hadn’t thought of her father much but on that fateful night, two hours after dolling up and making her mind up, Mary – or Melinda as Denise chose to introduce her to her first client – was ready. Standing by the side of the road in the darkness and lit only by the towering streetlamp, Mary – Melinda – looked a picture in her black bra, see-through wrap and black leather jacket. Not much was left to the imagination. Down below she wore tanned stockings and a black skirt so short it rode up. Her shoulder-length dark hair and naïve green eyes exuded insecurity and looked out of place. At the tender age of fifteen, all the tenderness and innocence of youth had been beaten out of her years ago, and tonight, as her first car, client and pay cheque approached, that beating would continue. As the passenger door drew open and revealed nothing but a dark tube, Denise beckoned Melinda in, and Mary heard only one thing: her father’s voice, as the stranger in the car announced, “Nice.” As Melinda got into the car, the three women looked on, pleased with themselves. As their smiles beamed, the car pulled away, leaving nothing behind but polluting smoke, consensual virginity on its way out and the prospect of yet more painful memories in its wake. 21